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Preparing for College

It’s never too early or too late to think about college. However, sooner is always better.

What are you and your child doing to prepare for college?


Starting to prepare for college in kindergarten, young students are excited about the idea of ​​college. Spend the early years studying methods, reading and experiencing life, finding opportunities that increase curiosity and open your mind to creative and organized thought processes. Foster goal-oriented thinking and time management skills in children, so in the future they will have the tools to stay on task.

Young students are particularly successful in learning languages ​​and music, even a child as young as four or five can start piano or keyboard lessons. If you have opportunities to expose them to a second language through travel or training, try it, children can pick up second languages ​​much faster than adults.

Of course, it’s never too early to open a college savings account.


In high school, students should have a solid understanding of mathematics and be able to write logical, grammatically correct essays.

If you haven’t already set up a college savings fund or other fund specifically designed for higher education, now is a good time to start. Check with your local bank or credit union to find an account that offers the best rate. Parents should discuss investments and deposits in the college fund with the child, it is important that they understand the realities of how much college and life outside the home costs.

Children at this age can envision their future independently from their parents, and strive for a decision-making role in their lives. Identify and respect the merits, support the interests and allow them to evaluate the opportunities. Of course, teens may think they know it all, so before they make a choice, ask them carefully thought-out questions to guide them to a logical and informed decision.


In high school, curriculum, grades, and extracurricular activities become important factors regarding college entrance requirements and scholarship opportunities.

In general, most universities require students to successfully complete the following core subjects in high school:

  • English for 4 years
  • 3 years of Mathematics, including Algebra and Geometry
  • 3 years of history and social sciences
  • 2 years of laboratory science
  • 2 years of foreign language
  • College Guidance Counselor: Students should begin meeting with a guidance counselor at the beginning of 9th grade to ensure that all correct coursework is taken, maintaining a relationship throughout high school. A counselor can often provide information on college entrance exams and scholarship information.

    A Note on Mathematics: Since many students struggle to maintain their math skills, it is not wise to leave math in senior year. Forgetting valuable information before you take placement tests, Advanced Placement Tests, the SAT or ACT may prevent students from getting a high score or require them to take remedial math classes in college.

    Often times parents have forgotten their advanced math course work and don’t have the skills to help with homework, so investing in a tutor can be beneficial. A knowledgeable and affordable teacher can usually be found at a local college or junior college.

    One way to keep math skills sharp is to take a year of basic physics trigonometry, algebra or calculus instead of four years of math. Most undergraduate programs require only intermediate college statistics or algebra, so even if a student does not take calculus in high school, for most programs they will be adequately prepared with intermediate algebra, geometry, and trigonometry.

    The Essay: Learning to write essays well will help students succeed in college and most scholarship applications will require some sort of essay. Even math or microbiology majors write essays, so learning to write a good essay is important.

    Honors Classes: Colleges don’t just look at grades, they also look at coursework, often a B in an advanced placement class or honors class will carry more weight than an A in a regular class. So even if the program is more challenging, take an honors level class or advanced placement classes whenever possible.

    Extracurricular: Universities are looking for well-rounded students who contribute to their community. Whether it’s sports, student government, the arts or volunteer work, extracurricular activities enrich the school and life experiences, provide opportunities to learn teamwork, and connect students to the community in which they live.

    Sometimes the competition to be on high school sports teams discourages students from participating, if so, look for other activities such as karate, dance or intramural teams. Usually 16-year-old students can participate in local university/junior college courses in subjects such as rock climbing, kayaking or racquetball.

    Student government provides leadership skills, colleges look for students who have held a student officer position, served as a class representative or participated in campus clubs.

    Some students enjoy attending local theater productions or art classes.

    Volunteer opportunities are endless, look around the community and find something interesting. Better yet, if there is an unmet need in society, create a solution.

    work: Consider a summer job to help with college costs and learn valuable work skills and responsibility. Universities are especially fond of young entrepreneurs.

    Consulting / Job Shadowing: It’s never too early to research real-life work situations. If a student thinks they want to become an accountant, find a volunteer accountant in the community who can answer questions about the day-to-day realities of their job and the training needed to perform their duties. People often spend a lot of time thinking about a dream job without checking the facts. Halfway through college or after graduation is too late to start exploring career options. So consider career choices carefully before wasting valuable time and money.

    Letters of Recommendation: In the junior year, after establishing good relationships with teachers and community leaders, ask for letters of recommendation for college and job applications.


    Most colleges and universities require the SAT or ACT and the PSAT approves students for National Merit Scholarships. Contact the universities of your choice and ask what exam they require. However, do not limit the opportunity to join a different university, take both exams, so all options are available. Don’t let financial hardship prevent a student from taking these exams, talk to a guidance counselor about a fee waiver. All tests can make accommodations for students with documented disabilities.

    Scores: Each school has different criteria and GPA requirements. But usually it’s a combination of the two, for example an exceptional test score can give you a little wiggle room on your GPA, and vice versa.

    PSAT/National Self-Assessment Test: Assesses skills in critical reading, math problem solving, and writing.

  • Registration for this test is not available online, contact your high school counselor for registration information.
  • Study in the first two years of high school and take this exam in the 10th grade.
  • SAT: Tests critical reading, math problem solving and writing skills.

  • Obtain an SAT Registration Booklet from the guidance counselor at your high school to register by mail, or visit the College Board website to register online.
  • Study up to class 9 and 10 for this test.
  • Take the SAT early in your junior year, so if your score is lower than desired, you have plenty of time to retake it.
  • SECURITY: Multiple-choice courses include English, math, reading and science. The exam also offers a written test that evaluates a short essay.

  • Contact a high school guidance counselor or visit the ACT website.
  • Study up to class 9 and 10 for this exam.
  • Take this exam in 11th grade, so there is time to retake it if needed.
  • How to prepare for university entrance exams:

  • Read good books, magazines and current news information
  • Take a preparatory course
  • Buy and use preparation software
  • Take practice tests
  • Increase your vocabulary, including roots, prefixes and derivatives
  • Pass the test anxiety
  • Take hard classes during your high school years
  • Reading and writing articles,/li>

    Advanced Placement Tests: These tests can earn credit in college-level courses and be eligible for the AP Scholar Award. The exams are single-course exams, offered in 35 different subjects, from art history to physics to world history. These tests can be taken annually, but contact the AP coordinator, or call AP Services at 888-225-5427 to find the local AP coordinator and testing schedule.

    Financial Aid and Scholarships: Federal Pell grants are available for students with financial need; quality depends on the income of the parents. To apply for Pell aid call 1-800-4FED-AID or apply online at Talk to your college’s financial aid office to inquire about other funding, scholarships, grants, and student loans. Tuition can be expensive, but don’t forget living expenses, which in some cases require more money than tuition and books.

    College Application: During the summer before senior year, complete the final research on college selection and check their website for freshman application dates. Make sure you include anything else they need, such as test scores, transcripts, letters of recommendation or other documents such as proof of disability or military status.


    Many children will leave their parent’s home to attend college. Learning to balance life, schoolwork, and work is a difficult task for many students. So preparing for these issues before leaving home can increase the chances of a smooth transition between high school and living at home through college and on your own.

    Life Skills: Learning to write an essay or memorizing the quadratic formula won’t help with everyday life, helpful skills to learn before leaving home include:

  • Basic food
  • Looking for a job and applying, preparing a resume
  • Looking for an apartment, roommates and applying
  • Budget and invoice payment, tax payment
  • Bargain shopping
  • Laundry and house cleaning
  • Street Smarts and self-defense
  • Car insurance, basic car maintenance
  • Using public transport
  • Civil liability, local laws, voting and jury duty
  • Health care, patient rights, insurance and public health
  • Relationships and personal boundaries
  • Proper preparation can guarantee success and a seamless transition to independence. College preparation and preparation for adult life should not be left to chance or in the hopes that knowledge will be left naturally during the high school years. First of all, it is important not to limit opportunities and choices with bad preparation.


    College Board – []

    Rigoglioso, Marguerite. Stanford Graduate School of Business: Poor Preparation Puts Community College Students at Risk. – []

    US Department of Education, Office of the Assistant Secretary, Preparing Your Child for College –

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